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Belmont Public Schools Respiratory Virus and COVID-19 Guidelines

  • MASKING
  • COVID-19 VACCINATIONS
  • SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS
  • REPORT A POSITIVE TEST
  • Respiratory Virus Guidelines Including Positive COVID

 

MASKING

While masks are not required or recommended in K-12 settings any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, will be supported in that choice. 

 

For symptomatic individuals - Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully resolved.

STAYING UP TO DATE ON VACCINATIONS

Vaccines continue to be the best way to protect individuals against the effects of COVID-19. DESE and DPH strongly recommend that all faculty, staff, and students, including the Commonwealth’s youngest children ages 6 months – 5 years, receive the COVID-19 vaccine primary series and all boosters, as they become eligible for them.

Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, and communities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Stay Up to Date CDC

Belmont Public Schools and Belmont Health Department encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines and booster.

SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS - STAY HOME WHEN SICK

We must continue to do our part for the health and safety of our community. We expect individuals to be familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19 and remain at home and test per guidance.

People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home. Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin. People who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 who test positive should consult with a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment, even if their symptoms are mild. Staying home when sick can lower the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to other people.

Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever (100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), or chills or shaking chills

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Muscle aches or body aches

  • Cough (not due to other known causes, such as chronic cough)

  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, when in combination with other symptoms

  • Headache, when in combination with other symptoms

  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms

  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies), when in combination with other symptoms

Please visit the Health Services website for Illness Guidelines for illnesses/symptoms other than COVID-19.  BPS Illness Guidelines

 

COVID-19 Positive Reporting Form

Please report all positive results to your school nurse by completing this COVID-19 Positive Reporting Form. Call your school absence line to report your child’s absence.

 

Respiratory Virus Guidelines 2024 DPH 3-2024

On March 25, 2024, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health updated its guidance to align with the recent CDC guidance:

Staying home to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses | Mass.gov

This guidance aligns with recent CDC updated guidelines for respiratory viruses,  including COVID-19 released on March 1, 2024.

This guidance is for respiratory viruses like Influenza, RSV, and Covid-19 as they share similar transmission methods, symptoms, and prevention strategies. This unified approach aims to simplify recommendations and address common risks more effectively. 

 


 

The new CDC guidance for respiratory virus:

  • When you have ANY respiratory virus - stay home and away from others if you have respiratory virus symptoms. These symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, and headache among others.

  • Return to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:

    • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and

    • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication)

  • When returning to your normal activities, take added precautions over the next 5 days, such as taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masks, physical distancing, and/or testing when in the company of other people indoors.

    • Keep in mind that you may still be able to spread the virus that made you sick, even if you are feeling better. You are likely to be less contagious at this time, depending on factors like how long you were sick or how sick you were.

The updated Respiratory Virus Guidance recommends that people stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after both their symptoms improve overall, and they have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). Note that depending on the length of symptoms, this period could be shorter, the same, or longer than the previous guidance for COVID-19 isolation.

It is important to note that the guidance doesn’t end with staying home and away from others when sick. The guidance encourages added precaution over the next five days after time at home, away from others, is over. Since some people remain contagious beyond the “stay-at-home” period, a period of added precaution using prevention strategies, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses can lower the chance of spreading respiratory viruses to others.

In addition to fewer people getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and having better tools to fight serious illness, the CDC considered other factors such as the personal and societal costs of extended isolation as well as the timing of when people are most likely to spread the virus (a few days before and after symptoms appear). The updated guidance is easy to understand, practical, evidence-based, and aligned with long-standing recommendations for other respiratory illnesses.

In addition to the CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance, there are several special considerations for people with certain risk factors for severe illness, including older adults, young children, people with weakened immune systems, people with disabilities, and pregnant people.

 To read the complete report, click here. Also, the CDC has created an information FAQ page for the new respiratory guidance, available here.